Moving Talking with My Dad from concept to realty meant writing it. As a professional journalist for more than 38 years, writing is second nature to me. I tend to think in headlines and intro paragraphs even in my daily life.
But writing a play is far different from writing a story about heart disease or about the death of a loved one. A play needs believable characters, believable plots and a rhythm and flow to the story, a story arc if you will.
All of that began in my head. I found myself writing a few pages a day, often on my commutes home from work each day. I knew the story arc and the characters extremely well, given that they were drawn from my own life and my own experiences. But I had to open them up to the world in a way audiences could relate to.
That part of the process involved what is known as a workshop for the play, a bringing together of actors to read through the first draft. While you wouldn’t think such a reading would be much different from just reading my own work when it was done, it is a profoundly different experience.
Other actors bring other perspectives to the work, they are the audience at a workshop. Following our first workshop, I rewrote large portions of Talking with My Dad. A second workshop took place, and more rewriting followed.
The characters and the story have changed in significant ways since my first conception of them. The changes make for a better story and a better theater-going experience for you, our audience.